02 Nov 2023  |   06:17am IST

When a Govt stops having conversations with people, the trust deficit increases

The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments which rule with a view to the private interest, whether to the one, or the few, or of the many, are perversions — Aristotle in his treatise ‘Politics’
When a Govt  stops having conversations with people, the trust deficit increases

“Politics” is an exploration of different types of state organisations and tries to describe the state which will ultimately lead to the most fulfilled citizens.

As many hundreds of citizens, organised themselves, to come out of their homes (as passionate Goans always do bravely and selflessly) and converge at Lohia Maidan on Wednesday to collectively raise their voices against what they felt was the continuous tear in the communal fabric of Goa, it presented a very deep worry.

When conversations stop between the government and the people, doubts grow

And this worry goes beyond the details of the fear or suspicion about communal tensions. It is evident that when there is no communication, no conversation and no attempt to reduce any doubts or fear among people there could be an existence of tension between communities. Ultimately as Aristotle said, let us ask if Goa does have fulfilled citizens.

When citizens are hurt, they express it in their safest place - the ballot box

The voices that came out of Lohia Maidan were not of fulfilled citizens. They expressed deep frustration, hurt and anger at what they felt were alleged attempts to polarise communities and use this divide to sway elections towards the ruling dispensation. Most importantly, in an amazing display of maturity and unity, they vowed to uphold the values and principles of equality and justice put forth by leaders like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, and Indira Gandhi. Many parties may have claimed their ownership of certain leaders, but for the common citizens, the good values of each - most importantly the value of harmony and unity - had to be upheld.

When these values are not upheld according to people, this hurt is expressed in the safest place available in a democracy for a citizen who is not satisfied and fulfilled - the ballot box.

Most importantly, Goans at Lohia Maidan pledged to pass on the values of peace and harmony of Goa to the next generation that Goa has always exemplified.

A government for the people cannot be unaware of these sentiments. They should have had continuous conversations to address this. They had opportunities to do this when there was a flare-up in Calangute over a statue which was ostensibly in the middle of a road in an unauthorised space, over which there was tension and violence. The placing of statues of deities worshipped by one community in the square of an ancient place of worship of another in Sancoale and asking people of the former community to march to witness the new deities, was what people felt was “a deliberate act of creating tension”. In addition, several statements made by influential political figures which sought to cast aspersions on other communities, have not gone down well among all right-thinking Goans.

It is these small sparks, if unattended, that continue to simmer and have the potential for a sudden flare-up. Leadership is all about putting out these small fires for the benefit of all.

Common Goans, at Lohia Maidan, were from all communities, who followed the biggest religion of all - humanity. Should the Govt not lend an ear and offer its shoulder?

While the Lohia Maidan meeting was the melting pot of Goans from all walks of life coming together to pledge harmony for  the next generations, they were representatives of a sentiment across Goa.

Let’s revisit the lines we began this piece with quoting  the great philosopher Aristotle said true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest

What is a common interest for a Goan?

-         Preservation of land and natural resources

-         Preservation of Goans identity and culture in all its forms and aspects

-         Progress and development which are people-centric and suit public interest

-         Creation of opportunities for some economic sustainability either through jobs of skill empowerment

-         Peace and harmony as always with coexistence and brotherhood of communities for centuries

 If you look at agitations, protests and court cases by people and activists, it is the state which is on the other side. Is this a sign of a healthy polity where the people are versus the state and not with the state? And when people speak, the wisdom of the crowd must be heard. And this is a wisdom as old as Aristotle.

Aristotle liked democratic systems is that he believed in the wisdom of crowds. He said, “If the people are not utterly degraded, although individually they may be worse judges than those who have special knowledge, as a body they are as good or better.”


Idhar Udhar